My Weekend in Koblenz

29 Apr

I arrived in Koblenz after sunset on Thursday, March 19th following a nine and a half hour bus ride which spanned the width of Germany. Waiting for me at the central station was Konstantin – a.k.a. Konsti – the German exchange student my family hosted for a month in high school and whose family hosted me for a month the subsequent summer. Although we had lost touch for much of the seven or so years since our exchange program, we re-connected in the fall and agreed a meet-up was in order.

It wasn’t long before we were back at Konsti’s apartment eating dinner and swapping stories to see how much each of us remembered from our time in the other’s country. We shared memories about our families, our different groups of friends and fellow exchange students, poker night at the Ober household, and a certain “Stellar” teacher we frequently terrorized 😉 I was quick to spot some souvenirs from Konsti’s time in Hagerstown:

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We also updated each other on what we’d been up to since high school. Konsti has always had a gift and a talent for music, so it was neat to hear that he is still writing and playing with a group and friends and that he had spent some time working at a major club and music venue in his home town of Wiesbaden before coming to Koblenz. He’s currently taking a combination of psychology, sociology and management courses at the local university with the hope of becoming a therapist.

We were joined by Konsti’s girlfriend Nicki, who is also from Wiesbaden and who is studying design at the university in Koblenz. She and Konsti prepared an outstanding meal for us that evening – the first of many acts of hospitality. The Berlin conference had left me voiceless, so Nicki – who used to work at the German equivalent of a pharmacy – recommended all kinds of herbal teas and other remedies to help nurse me back to health. I was very impressed by the way in which Konsti and Nicki have made their apartment feel like a real home, and I was grateful for them to invite me into it for the weekend.

The next day, Konsti and I set out to explore 2000-year old Koblenz. We saw the city’s old palace (and super cool playground) as well as the fortress across the Rhein river:

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Next we stopped at the Deutsches Eck (The German Corner), where the Rhein and Mosel rivers come together (something like the Confluence in Pittsburgh) along with a massive statue of Kaiser Wilhelm I:

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We then met up with Nicki for a stroll through the Altstadt (Old Town) with a stop at an outstanding gelato place which we all agreed was wicked hard core. We also saw Koblenz’s unofficial mascot, Das Schängelchen or “The Spitting Boy,” a small statue of a boy atop a fountain which spits water at unsuspecting tourists:

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That afternoon, we listened to a few more of Konsti’s favorite artists, discussed the very interesting concept of social intelligence, and checked out some hilarious Youtube personalities such as American actor and food critic Action Bronson, among others. After another top-notch dinner prepared by Konsti and Nicki, we met up with one of their friends for a night out on the town, filled with stops at smoky bars packed with fellow university students. The highlight of the evening was definitely my triumph on the darts board 😉

The next day, Konsti, Nicki and I boarded a cable car which spans the Rhein to visit the city’s old fortress. The cable car – Germany’s biggest aerial tramway – was built in 2011 for the biennial Federal Horticultural Show (Bundesgartenschau, or BUGA for short) – apparently they take their gardening very seriously in Germany 😉

After exploring the fortress, we snapped a few pictures overlooking the Deutsches Eck before catching the last cable car home:

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After we returned to the apartment, I began preparing dinner as a way of saying thank you to Konsti and Nicki for all the food they had provided me so far. Despite an almost total lack of cooking skills, I managed to make my favorite meal which my Mom – legendary Hagerstown chef Roxanne Ober – makes for me on special occasions: her salmon and bow-tie pasta dish. Luckily, Konsti and Nicki weren’t disappointed:

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Later that evening, we settled in for a movie – the dark comedy In Bruges. The next day, Konsti and Nicki departed for Konsti’s parents home outside of Stuttgart, and I began a 12-hour journey on a series of trains back to Aarhus.

My weekend in Koblenz was no less than rejuvenating. I cannot thank Konsti and Nicki enough for their gracious hospitality and generosity. It was such a pleasure to meet Nicki and to see Konsti again and catch up. Although his hair was shorter and he had grown an impressive beard since the last time we saw one another, Konsti was the same thoughtful, curious, cool, kind-hearted and selfless guy he was when he arrived in Hagerstown seven years ago. As we said our goodbyes, I thanked Konsti and Nicki and told them I looked forward to seeing them again soon, whether in Denmark, the states, or somewhere else in Europe. But where ever we meet up next, I know it will be sooner than seven years from now 🙂

One Response to “My Weekend in Koblenz”

  1. Roxanne Ober April 30, 2015 at 3:43 pm #

    I enjoyed seeing Konsti again. A big shout out to the wonderfu hospitality you received! Miss you in America! Love, Mom

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